Monday, February 17, 2014

How to keep a clean house for the non-type-A, stressed out, over whelmed, stay-at-home mom!

Hey Folks!  Did you all have a great weekend?  I hope so :)  Happy President's Day!  I'm so very glad to have my husband home with me today, even though it's business as usual around here.  My house tends to get very messy on the weekends.  It's my fault.  I look at the weekend as "time off" of "work"....and I don't really clean.  Not really at all.  for two whole days....  I might do singular project stuff, like cleaning out a closet or something like that, but I don't touch the dishes or the laundry, I don't sweep or wipe or anything.  It's bad.  I know I should be better about least on Saturdays, my husband usually steps in and does some dishes, but in general the place is a mess.  I am not a type-A girl.  When I was a kid and in high school, my room was always a mess.  I remember getting my "desk dumped" at school in front of the whole class a few times by the teacher because it was such a mess (what a horrible thing to do to a little kid, btw).  I am not naturally that type of isn't a talent or skill I was born with.  Now, as an adult, I hatehatehatehate for things to be dirty.  I hate mess and I hate disorder.  I also have four children that constantly run around and wreck everything I've just cleaned gets very overwhelming and I have been known to have a melt-down or two when I am faced with a big mess. I am a singular focus kind of girl.  I have been known to walk past a rouge apple core in the middle of the floor if I'm focused on some other task.  (I will pick it up, obviously, I'm not an animal...but it might be something I come back to an hour later).  I have always tended to only deal with messes when I had devoted my time to cleaning, and I clean everything all at while I'm scrubbing the heck out of one room for hours on end, my kids are in the other room unsupervised trashing just doesn't work.  Sometimes I get envious of those very OCD girls who can't stand for one single little thing to be out of place, so they are constantly able to keep everything perfect.  (I know, I know, I shouldn't be, because that's the other end of the spectrum and being OCD comes with a whole other host of difficulties).  I wasn't really taught growing up how to follow through with a schedule or a system.  These are things I've had to teach myself as an adult...and it has taken a lot of trial and error to figure it out.....BUT, I think I can say that by golly... I've finally figured it out!  I have come to the point in my life where I've learned to embrace my type-B-ness.  I have decided that I can have the best of both worlds.  A constantly clean home, but also the relaxed attitude that I've always had, which in my opinion, makes me a happier person.  It all started when I had an epiphany.  I mentioned this before here, and talked a little about what got me started down this path.  Well, as I was reading the advice from this post on housewife how to's....I realized that it's all about routine....following the same routine every day....whether you get it all the way clean in one day, doesn't matter....just as long as you are doing it EVERY DAY (or at least all day during the week, because you know I like to take my weekends  I have since re-vamped my entire routine, and it's amazing.  I feel like I've finally found the secret to running a successful household.  I'm going to share with your my routine.  Hopefully this can help someone else out there who struggles with running a household the same way I have.

First thing each morning....
Start a load of laundry!  I choose to do this first because swapping laundry is a physically active thing, yet it doesn't really seem like it is (as opposed to scrubbing the kitchen floor).  It's an easy gateway activity that tricks your body into starting to MOVE.  Scientifically, things in motion want to stay in motion, and things that are still want to stay I've often found that getting your blood pumping is the best way to get yourself motivated to keep going....a little caffeine helps too...

Okay, so start with laundry....
Then move on to every bedroom.  Don't fully clean each bedroom.  Only spend five minutes per room.  Make the bed....grab any trash that you see, or laundry on the floor, or a pick up a couple of things that belong in a different room and move on.  The point is that you want to visit each room and get in the habit of that.  Don't stress that you aren't able to clean the whole room (if it's already a mess)....if it's not a mess, then you are golden, so just spend five minutes tidying it up.  Just do five minutes per bedroom around the house.  Each day the room will be a little bit cleaner than it was the day before...until you have it perfectly in order and you are just cleaning up the mess that was made in the 24 hours since you last cleaned it up....which won't be much, because people subconsciously will keep a clean room cleaner than they would a dirty one.

 Next go to the bathrooms.  Do a quick wipe down.  I'm really liking clorox wipes for that....but you know what you can even use baby wipes.  They work well for bathrooms too.  Don't try to clean the whole room.  Just decide what your quick freshening will be.  I wipe my sinks and wipe down the entire toilet, and check the tub to make sure there's no scum from last night's bath.....move on... shouldn't take you more than five minutes....abandon it if you can't finish in five minutes.

 After that, I hit the kitchen.  I try to have all of my dinner dishes loaded and in the dishwasher each night, so I wake up to a load of clean dishes....that might happen once a week.  I'm usually too exhausted at the end of the day and they are still in the sink in the morning.  So I start my breakfast (eggs)...and I round up all of the dishes.  I have a very specific routine for cleaning the kitchen, but I'm sure everybody has their "own way" so I'll spare you the details on that....just make sure you have your dishes done and loaded in the dishwasher, and then wipe all of your counters, wipe out the microwave at the same time that you wipe the counters (this will keep you from ever having a dirty microwave again), and spot check your cabinets and fridge for any smudges.  Wipe the kitchen table, then the trashcan (if it's out in the open like mine), and then wipe out your sinks.  Sweep the floor, and then wipe up any spots you see on the a quick spot need to scrub the entire floor.   All of this will take you more than five minutes, but I like to race against my eggs.  I try to have it all done before my eggs are finished cooking.  The key here is to hurry the heck up! Be fast!!!

Next I move on to my "list".  I've found the key for doing chores is to not put pressure on yourself.  I made a list of all of the things in the house that need to be done on a regular basis.

My list is as follows, but everyone's would probably be different.

  • Mop Kitchen
  • Scrub Down Living Room
  • Scrub down entry way
  • Scrub down Laundry Room and Halls
  • Mop Living Room
  • Change all Sheets
  • Scrub down Boys' Room
  • Mop/vacuum Boys' Room
  • Vacuum stairs
  • Scrub down spare bedroom
  • Vacuum spare bedroom
  • Scrub down Girls' Room
  • Vacuum/mop girls' Room
  • Scrub down kid's bathroom (including toilet bowl and floor) 
  • Scrub down Master Bathroom
  • Mop Master Bathroom/ vacuum master closet
  • Scrub down master bedroom
  • Vacuum master bedroom
  • scrub down kitchen (stuff you don't normally wipe, like walls, baseboards, chair and table legs, vent hood, etc.)
I pick one thing a day and then go through my list.  If I miss a day, no biggie...I just pick right back up where I left off.  When I say "scrub down" I mean wipe all surfaces, which will include flat surfaces and mirrors and windows and baseboards, trim around doorways, doors and walls.  Some days this is a big job....other days, it's a tiny job.  Sometimes I'm super thorough, other days I'm not.  The important thing is to keep rotating though your list.  Clean something even if you don't think it needs to be cleaned.  The more times you make it through your list, the faster it will go....If you don't get everything super clean on one pass, the next time you come to that item on the list, it should be easier and you can deep clean a little more.  The important thing is to get in a routine!!!!!  Keep going.  Even though you aren't doing all of the work at once, you are still cleaning things faster than they get dirty, so you will make headway.  After a while, you'll notice that things are constantly clean.  

As far as my routine goes, after I get my daily chore done, I take a break and do other things until after lunch.  I put the littles down for their naps and then I finish my routine, which is to pick up the main areas of my house, sweep out all of my main living spaces and then fold and put away any laundry I've done during the day.....and that's it....My whole cleaning routine.  Since I've been following this new way of cleaning, our whole house has been different.  I've noticed that my kids have started taking better care of things.  It's much much easier for me to teach them to clean up when I'm first setting an example.  I still have the kids do chores, but now I can pick and choose things instead of giving them something that could overwhelm cleaning a horribly messy bedroom.  Now, it's unload the dishwasher, or wash these windows, or take out the trash....bite sized pieces they can handle.  

I know this is long and god bless whoever made it through to the end.  I hope this was able to help someone else out there.  

Take care and have a wonderful day!   



  1. I read the whole thing so I'll consider myself blessed. You seem to have a handle on the household chores. What an accomplishment! Considering I have a house full of animals, some of these tips should come in handy. Thanks Anna!

  2. Great list, I just love a clean house, but since I work during the day, I tidy up during the week and do a big cleanup once a week. That's what works for me!